Former St Helens winger Anthony Sullivan proud of RL World Cup ball honour

Former flying winger Anthony Sullivan revealed this week how proud he and his family were when it was announced that the ball for next year's World Cup would be named in honour of his late father, Clive.

Tuesday, 14th December 2021, 9:04 am
The Sully match ball. Picture: SWPix

Anthony, now 53, made more than 300 appearances in a stellar career at St Helens between 1991 and 2001, said: "My father would be both honoured and humbled to see his achievements recognised in this manner.

''He would, I am sure, take this opportunity to pay tribute to his teammates and the staff involved in our inspirational World Cup win in 1972.

"For all of the family it will be very special to see him appreciated in this way and for his name to positively impact future generations within the sport."

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Jon Dutton, RLWC2021 chief executive, said: "Clive is a true British sporting icon. A pioneer in our sport and the captain of the last British Rugby League World Cup winning team.

"It is important to celebrate the rich and vibrant heritage that the sport has and this is a wonderful opportunity to bring to life a key moment from past history. What Clive achieved in Rugby League is phenomenal and the wider impact he had in sport and society will always be remembered.

"We are thankful to the Sullivan family and ball supplier Steeden for their support and for the opportunity to honour Clive during the 50-year anniversary of the 1972 World Cup winning team at the biggest and best-ever Rugby League World Cup next autumn."

Mike Stephenson, member of the 1972 Great Britain World Cup winning team, added: "To recognise Clive and his fantastic achievements as a player and a pioneer on a global scale through the official Rugby League World Cup match ball is special.

"Clive was a fantastic teammate and through this brilliant initiative, we have the opportunity to educate the next generation of fans on the journey of our sport and the positive role Clive played in its success."

The match ball has been designed in collaboration with the Sullivan family and Steeden to represent the core values of the tournament, the history of International Rugby League and recognise the significant positive impact he had on the sport.

Sullivan, a proud Welshman, made his Great Britain debut in 1967 and was awarded the captaincy five years later, leading the Great Britain side to World Cup victory in 1972.

As well as being the first black sportsman to captain a British national team, Sullivan scored a 60-metre try in the final against Australia, cementing his place as aporting icon.

Next year, 50-years on from the 1972 World Cup, Sullivan will be at the heart of history again when the men's, women's and wheelchair tournaments take place across England.

The 'Sully Ball' was unveiled at the MKM Stadium, the home of Hull FC where Sullivan remains the all-time leading try-scorer. The MKM stadium in Hull will host three RLWC2021 matches and those who are travelling to the games will likely approach on Clive Sullivan Way.